Church To Offer Special Needs Sunday School

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COLUMBIA - Kids with autism will have a chance to attend a special needs Sunday School while their parents can attend services. Broadway Christian Church announced the first special needs Sunday School program called "All God's Children." It will start on September 11.

As a special educator, Lora Hinkel has worked with special needs children for more than 20 years, and her eight-year-old son Blake Hinkel is with autism. She and her family quit church for nearly six years.

"When my son was young, it was very challenging to take him to church because some of his behaviors and things like that. So we ended up walking around the lobby and just trying to stay out of everyone's way," she said.

Hinkel said many churches would try to help by providing babysitters, but the children couldn't learn gain religious experiences in that way.

"And it got into a point where it didn't seem to worth it to us as a family to have to get up one more time when we're doing so many different therapies and spending so many extra hours doing things and running him places to wake up on Sunday and walk around the lobby," she said.

Being a parent and also a professional, Hinkel said Columbia area has more people that need help than you might imagine.

"I have more than 200 people on our support group list," said Hinkel.

Teresa Wiegand who has special education experience for a decade is the coordinator of the "All God's Children" program. Wiegand said the kids will experience a weekly Bible study through song, art, play and storytelling. 

"The program will take place during the 11:15 a.m. church service that allows us to use the rooms when the other Sunday School classes are not meeting and that will also allow the parents to attend the worship service," said Wiegand.

The class will move at a slower pace and make adjustments according to children's needs. The program will serve children from birth through fifth grade. Besides kids with autism, kids with other special needs are also welcome to join.

To learn more about the program or arrange an assessment, call the Broadway Christian Church office at 573-445-5312.